JOE Listings (Job Openings for Economists)

February 1, 2021 - July 31, 2021

University of Chicago

This listing is inactive.
Crime Lab and Education Lab
Research Director

JOE ID Number: 2021-01_111466452
Date Posted: 02/01/2021
Date Inactive: 07/31/2021
Position Title/Short Description
Title: Research Director
Section: Full-Time Nonacademic
Locations: Chicago, Illinois, UNITED STATES
New York , New York, UNITED STATES
JEL Classification: 00 -- 00 - Default: Any Field
Full Text of JOE Listing:

About Us
Our mission is to help design, test, and scale solutions to some of our nation’s most pressing and persistent social problems:
• America has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world, with harms that fall disproportionately on our most economically vulnerable communities of color.
• America also has the highest murder rate of any developed nation in the world, by far, with almost all the difference in homicides across countries due to gun violence.
• Most people agree that the best long-term solution to these challenges is to improve opportunity and reduce inequality in American society. Yet gains in educational outcomes have not kept pace with the demands of the modern economy, and massive disparities persist.

The Crime Lab and its sister organization, the Education Lab, is a non-partisan faculty-led research center at the University of Chicago directed by Jens Ludwig and Jonathan Guryan. We use the power of research and data science to help public sector agencies improve social conditions for the people they serve. Our focus on partnering with the public sector is motivated by the recognition that only the government has the scale of operations to translate promising solutions into large-scale social change. Past projects have, for example, helped the city of Chicago re-orient much of its violence strategy towards greater use of social programs, supported the implementation of reforms at the Chicago Police Department initiated by the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice civil rights division, and worked with the New York City’s mayor’s office on the effort to close the long-troubled Rikers Island jail without compromising public safety in the city.

We have a full-time staff of over 100 in offices located in downtown Chicago (across from city hall) and New York City (in Downtown Manhattan), which includes Ph.D.-level research directors, data scientists, and program managers. We are funded by research grants from foundations such as the Arnold, Joyce, MacArthur, McCormick, and Pritzker foundations, federal government agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Education and US Department of Justice, and private individuals.

We are also able to capitalize on the unique intellectual environment of the University of Chicago itself, which has been one of the world’s leading research universities since its founding in 1890. Since 2008, we have collaborated with numerous professors from the economics, behavioral science, and computer science departments on our portfolio of violence reduction and education access projects. We also routinely work with established faculty members at other leading universities.

Job Summary
We are seeking a full-time Research Director to contribute scientific and intellectual leadership to the organization and our work. The primary role of the Research Director is to direct a portfolio of research projects in association with faculty members and research teams, focused on reducing crime and violence and improving education performance and attainment of other life outcomes for disadvantaged youth in addition to facilitating technical assistance work for government partners and strategic partners. In this role, the Research Director will provide scientific direction on all projects, ensure the rigor and quality of work, manage and mentor research and project staff, and help to set and contribute to organizational priorities. The Research Director will report to the Managing Director and work collaboratively with senior faculty members at the University of Chicago and elsewhere, other research directors, and with partner agencies. The Research Director will contribute to the scientific content of research proposals and will assist the M.D. and other faculty affiliates in supporting fundraising, dissemination, and policymaker outreach activities. The Research Director will also contribute to strategic conversations about which new projects and initiatives the Crime Lab and Education Lab should take on. Career advancement for research directors usually takes one of two paths – increasingly ambitious project portfolios and leadership roles within the Crime Lab and Education Lab, or a faculty position elsewhere – previous research directors have taken tenure track positions at institutions like Cornell University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Maryland.

Applicants must have a Ph.D. in public policy, economics, statistics, or another relevant field, and ideally will have defended their doctoral dissertation by Fall 2021.

The successful candidate will have expertise in program evaluation, econometrics, statistics, or data science, and an interest in finding and testing innovative solutions to urban problems. Preference will be given to those who understand and use methods of causal inference and who have proven experience working with interdisciplinary research teams and agency and community stakeholders.

• Strategic leadership skills
• Supervisory skills
• Advanced knowledge in relevant scientific field
• Advanced knowledge of research techniques or methods
• Knowledge of scientific applications
• Knowledge of regulatory policies and procedures
• Analytical skills
• Problem-solving skills
• Attention to detail
• Organizational skills
• Verbal and written communication skills
• Ability to work independently and as part of a team

• Provide scientific direction on all projects, ensure the rigor, and quality of all work
• Manage and mentor research and project staff
• Help set and contribute to organizational priorities as part of the management team
• Report to the Managing Director
• Work collaboratively with senior faculty members at the University of Chicago and elsewhere, other research directors, and with partner agencies
• Contribute to the scientific content of research proposals
• Assist the Executive Director, Managing Director, and other faculty affiliates in supporting fundraising, dissemination, and policymaker outreach activities
• Contribute to strategic conversation about which new projects and initiatives the Crime Lab and Education Lab should take on
• Manage staff and demonstrate leadership on organizational initiatives

Required Documents
• Resume
• Cover Letter
• Writing Sample
• Reference Contact Information

NOTE: When applying, all required documents MUST be uploaded under the Resume/CV section of the application.

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, protected veteran status or status as an individual with disability.

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity / Disabled / Veterans Employer.

Application Requirements:
  • External Application URL and Instructions Below
Application deadline: 07/31/2021
Application Instructions:
To Apply

The listing can be found on the University of Chicago’s Workday System ( Search for requisition number JR09898.

If you have questions about the Workday application system, please contact:

Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process may contact the Shared Services Office by calling 773-702-5800 or by emailing with their request.